THE world's oceans are home to some of the most fascinating and mysterious creatures on the planet, and Mina Hatayama has made it her life's work to study them.
As a recent James Cook University (JCU) Bachelor of Marine Science graduate, Mina's passion and dedication have earned her the Ayling Prize in Marine Science, an award presented by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP).
Consistently excelling in her studies, Mina's hard work and commitment paid off when she was announced the recipient of the Ayling Prize, a $500 award given to the student with the highest overall GPA.
This prize pays homage to Dr Tony Ayling and Dr Avril Ayling's contributions to marine science. The Aylings have dedicated over 40 years of service to environmental monitoring, research, and reporting along the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coastline.
During her graduation ceremony, Mina expressed her gratitude and future aspirations.
"I am incredibly honoured to receive this award. Thank you so much for your generosity," Ms Hatayama said.
"I have most enjoyed learning from incredibly passionate professors and gaining first-hand experience in the environments we learn about during field trips.
“I now aim to continue my education and learning by completing an Honours in Physical Sciences."
As Mina enters the next chapter of her journey, there's no doubt the Ayling Prize has given her the support and recognition she needs to make waves in the world of marine science.